Ryland Fisher has more than 35 years of experience in the media industry as an editor, journalist, columnist, author, senior manager and executive. He is the former Editor of the Cape Times and The New Age and was assistant editor of the Sunday Times. His experience in the media industry extends across all media platforms, including broadcast, online, books and events. He works with several media companies, in South Africa and abroad: writing, editing and consulting.
Fisher is the author of Race (published 2007), a book dealing with some of the issues related to race and racism in post-apartheid South Africa. His first book, Making the Media Work for You (2002), provided insights into the media industry in South Africa. He has contributed chapters to several other books.
He writes a weekly column for the Weekend Argus and occasional articles for other publications in South Africa and abroad.
Fisher is currently a judge for the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards and a member of Council at the University of the Free State.
He is the executive chairperson of the Cape Town Festival, which he initiated while editor of the Cape Times in 1999 as part of the ‘One City, Many Cultures’ project.
Fisher served three years on the Board of Trustees of Brand South Africa, the body promoting South Africa’s image abroad. He was appointed by President Jacob Zuma in October 2012.
Previous positions include CEO of Sekunjalo Media Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a division of Sekunjalo Investments Limited, and Head of Journalism at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (formerly Pentech). He has lectured at, among others, the University of Cape Town, the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism in Johannesburg, Emory University in Atlanta, Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, Rhodes University, and at the Initiatives of Change Foundation in Caux, Switzerland.
Fisher was a Rockefeller Research Fellow at the Center for the Study of Public Scholarship at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2003. He participated in a five-week change leadership course at the Harvard Business School in 1997 and a five-week journalism course at the University of Missouri in 1993. He was awarded a fellowship at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (Stias) in 2010 and 2013. He is still associated with Stias.
Fisher was named as an Honorary Member and Fellow of the Frederick van Zyl Slabbert Institute for Student Leadership Development at Stellenbosch University in August 2013.
In October 2006, he was awarded the Award of Appreciation for Print Media (for Media that Transforms the Public Space) at the Images of Voices and Hope conference in New York, in recognition of the “One City, Many Cultures” project which he initiated at the Cape Times.
His political activism, mainly in the 1980s, includes being a founding executive member of the Cape Youth Congress and the United Democratic Front in the Western Cape. He was detained under the state of emergency in 1985.
Fisher is married to Ibtisaan and they have three daughters: Nadia, Raisa, and Larah